Creating a Thinking Hour: The Key to Productive Thinking
“The person who reads too much and uses his brain too little will fall into lazy habits of thinking” – Albert Einstein
In today’s fast-paced world, most people hardly find the time to sit down and just think. From work to personal responsibilities, our schedule hardly permits us to have quality time to dedicate to thought. However, for anyone interested in achieving great success in life, productivity and decision-making, dedicating a thinking hour each week is crucial.
Thinking Versus Daydreaming: What’s the Difference?
Many individuals who claim to spend all day “thinking” fall into daydreaming, where they’re lost in a personal movie inside their heads. However, useful thinking is more challenging and more productive than daydreaming. Useful thinking is directed, recorded, solitary, and isolated. To achieve productive thinking, you must remain focused on the task at hand, record your ideas (on paper or your computer), avoid distractions, and concentrate on one task without multi-tasking.
Creating a Thinking Hour
Dedicating one hour each week as your thinking hour can do wonders for your productivity, decision-making, and creativity. When setting up your thinking hour, it is essential to ensure that you have no distractions, and you record all your thoughts. A 15-minute session with the television on or in a noisy environment is not worth it.
Why create a thinking hour?
Creating a thinking hour gives you the ability to look beyond the trees and the entire forest. As the old saying goes, “when you’ve got a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” Similarly, when you’re spending all week hammering away, you might not even think to pick up a screwdriver. Everything from your work, relationships, and quality of life is based on the quality of the ideas you have. The outcomes you experience eventually boil down to the thoughts you have.
How to Set Up a Thinking Hour
Here are a few ways you can set up your thinking hour:
1. Write. Get a pad of paper and a pencil and just write out your thoughts. Writing helps both with directing your thoughts and recording them on paper. Sometimes the simplest solution works the best.
2. Type. If you can type faster than you can write, typing out your thoughts in a word processor might work better. This gives you an added speed factor without wasting any trees.
3. Talk. Turn on the recording device for your computer and just start talking. Talking to yourself turns up the volume on your thoughts and helps you stay focused on one direction of thought.
4. Objectives. Before you start a thinking session, determine what you want to think about. By setting objectives and goals for your thinking hour, you avoid the otherwise unavoidable boredom and confusion by attempting to think about everything.
5. Walk. Navigating a busy street might not be the best time to get stuck inside your head. Still, if you can find an isolated path, a walk can give you a mix of scenery. Just remember to bring a pad of paper and pencil to write down any ideas that strike you along the way.
6. Mindstorm. Write down the numbers 1 to 20 on a piece of paper and don’t stop until you’ve filled the entire list with ideas. You can use this along with other methods during your thought hour.
7. Meditate. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and relax. Meditation can also be a great way to spend your thought hour, although it suffers from being unable to bring in a recording device.
8. Explore the Problem. If you jump too quickly to a solution, you might get attached to it before realizing there are better alternatives. If your thinking session involves tackling a problem, explore it fully before deciding how to solve it.
9. Park It. One suggestion offered by Brian Tracy for how you might incorporate a thinking hour is to park your vehicle somewhere quiet after work, turn off the lights and think. This can be a better solution if you have a noisy home or office.
10. If I Did Know… “I don’t know” can be a roadblock. You can get past it by writing down what you would do if you did know. A poor idea can keep the thoughts moving forward until a better one is found.
11. Be Practical. Your thinking hour can be wasted if you create ideas you never use. A big part of thinking ideas is breaking them into easy steps. If you don’t instantly know what’s next, you aren’t finished.
Creating a thinking hour is one of the best things you can do to boost your productivity, decision-making, and creativity. Dedicating an hour of your busy week can help you move beyond the daily grind and achieve a new level of thinking that can positively impact all areas of your life.